Webinar: Working Class Homosexuality in South African History

This is an online webinar. Registrees will receive a link shortly before the webinar.

The book Working Class Homosexuality in South African History provides the first scholarly outline for the development of a narrative of same-sex working class African men. The book’s core analytic thrust centres around a previously unpublished primary source from the early twentieth century, as well as unique oral history interviews with men remembering their lives in the gay settlement of Mkhumbane.

While South Africa’s Bill of Rights provides constitutional protection for the right of any person to choose her or his own sexual preferences, this has not prevented violent and even murderous assaults on members of the growing and increasingly vocal LGBTI community. Given the dearth of published works on South Africa’s gay communities and reasoned public discussion, as well as the recent controversy over the film 'Inxeba', there is considerable urgency in confronting entrenched bigotry, prejudice, and homophobia.

Working Class Homosexuality in South African History inspires South Africans to reimagine an inclusive sense of the past as well as the future.

Dr Iain Edwards is an independent contemporary historian with scholarly interests in historiography and historical methods, particularly concerning life histories and public heritage and history. He was a member of the African National Congress’ national commission on public heritage and led the successful public campaign establishing the Kwa Muhle Museum. He has also been an historical expert witness in Land Claims Court hearings, was involved in the Freedom Park Heritage and Museum precinct development. His publications include works on African life in Durban, a founding cadre of Umkhonto we Sizwe, and a collection of the private political papers of South African Gandhian anti-apartheid and pro-democracy leader.

Marc Epprecht is a professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s University, where he teaches courses on culture and development, HIV/Aids, and southern Africa. He has published extensively on the history of sexuality in Africa, primarily in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa. His research engages with human rights questions and the ethics of research, activism, and knowledge production in Africa and the Global South more generally. He was a contributor and associate editor for the African contribution to Howard Chang (ed.) Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History published in 2019.

Date, time and location

08 October 2020
15.30 / 17.00

Additional information